» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Antenna Farm Records

Rating: 5/10 ?

February 2, 2005
Lately, I've been having nothing but trouble with my car. Well, it's a van really, but the point is that leaving your vehicle in the blasting snowstorms of Minnesota can lead to frozen pulleys and broken belts.

I broke down on my way to the repair shop and had to wait for a tow truck to take me up the road to the mechanic. While I waited to hear what was wrong with my beloved Dodge, I chewed my nails and cooped myself in my room, coming out only to make sure the phone was working.

I was in a terrible mood; I felt that everything had and would continue to go wrong. Finally, Erv the Mechanic called and said that it would cost around ten bucks to fix. I nearly cartwheeled into town with a renewed love for my hideous green van. I've always thought of myself as easygoing, but this week has proven that I experience violent mood swings.

On a smaller scale, this rollercoaster ride of emotions translates to my inexplicable urge to hear a certain CD - then midway through the first track I have to listen to something else. I've made head-spinning moves from John Coltrane to Modest Mouse to Le Tigre, looking for the album that is perfect for that exact moment in time. As much as I admire consistency in music, deep down, I love impulsiveness more.

Regrettably, I will never enjoy an album as solid and unwavering as Papercuts' Mockingbird. At first listen, the droopy-eyed waltz tune "A Fairy Tale" seemed appropriate for the winter wasteland that surrounded me. The second and third times around, the song was fading, and by the fourth time I listened, I was pretty fucking tired of it.

The song breaks down like this: a steady snare drum beats on as if in a procession, a piano hits the occasional minor chord, and Jason Robert Quever's gravelly falsetto descends about six notes. This eight-second pattern repeats, unchanged, for four and a half minutes. By my calculation, that means this small section plays just over thirty-three times before the song is over. No chorus, no verse, just two bars on replay.

"My Ivory Tower" follows the same model, only slightly varied - this time, Quever both ascends and descends the scale. There is a catchy little guitar riff here, but it is so repetitious that it quickly loses its luster.

The feel of Mockingbird is bittersweet and doleful, and even though I listened to it several times while I waited for my van's diagnosis, it overwhelmed me. I imagine this is what an emo kid's journal would sound like. Each song has its own quality, but they all fall into the "droning" category; the album is anti-dynamic. The predictable songs are comforting like lullabies, and like lullabies there is a good chance they will put you to sleep.

A CD on which all of the tracks are too similar is a rare beast indeed, as many groups pander to the musically fickle, such as yours truly, and throw a mishmash of songs together without any cohesion. It's always nice to hear a record that makes sense as a whole and follows a theme or mood throughout, but Mockingbird takes melancholy too far. I don't have the emotional fiber to feel sorry for myself for forty minutes straight - I need a break to get something to eat or to try the crossword. Papercuts might be for you if you are looking for a match in bleakness, but Papercuts is gonna win and you'll get over it.

Reviewed by Andy Brown
A regular contributor to LAS, Andy Brown lives in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, but doesn\'t think he has an accent.

See other reviews by Andy Brown



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